Yeeeeeeeeeee! I'm back! God, I've missed writing. My family has had so many medical emergencies since my last story. I usually don't like to start posting a story until I've written at least half of it first or at least outlines of each chapter and with all recent events I haven't been as timely with that as I would've liked. But here's the brainchild I've been talking about for a while. Nervous about it 'cause I've been away from writing for a good bit so please be kind. This first chapter just sets it up. I promise there'll be more action. In fact, this one is gonna get pretty dark. Or dark by my normal style's standards. Anyways I sincerely hope you like it.

Chapter 1: It's Not An Ultimatum.

She came waltzing through the door at 3 am. Her duffel bag was thrown across the floor and laid in the middle of the living room. Her red had been jacket tossed onto a dining chair and the sink went gushing to life. Arthur jogged into the room with his gun drawn but quickly put it away when he saw brown curls at the kitchen sink. "Thank God." She twisted her head slightly and flashed him some teeth. The Point gaited to her and squeezed his arms around her waist, burying his head in her neck, "Oh my God, I thought you were dead. I was about to hop on a plane tomorrow and go looking for you." His lips left a searing, desperate kiss on the flesh just above her scarf.

Ariadne acted shockingly cavalier, "I'm sorry I didn't call. My phone got trampled."

That's when he looked over her shoulder and saw the blood swirling around and painting the basin. Rust stained bandages ripped and laying on the counter. His hands plunged into the water with hers and held them out to look at them. There were some burns and cuts, "Ariadne…"

The Architect pursed her lips and ease her hands from him to dab them on a towel, "It's not as bad as it looks. They've mostly healed…Switzerland was good to me."

He leant against the counter, frown beginning to form, "What happened?"

"It didn't go so well." Her demeanor was non-chalant. Ariadne had learned to skirt around the bad things that happened and talk his ear off about the positive ones. She thought if she acted like it wasn't a big deal, he would believe her; she would in effect pull the wool over his eyes.

"Define 'didn't go so well.'"

She lifted on shoulder and ran her eyes across the countertops. Sparkling clean…"Our chemist accidentally mixed up the substances and put the wrong one in so the dream collapsed early and David Ingams didn't get the info." Arthur watched as the girl's nails started picking at the edge of the cabinet, "Gazprom Industries was pissed…they blew up the hotel I was staying in."

He knew he'd briefed her on what to do if a job failed. You never went back to your point of origin, "You went back to the hotel?!"

"Just to get my duffel…" defended Ariadne. Even as the sentence came out she wished she'd lied and said she tripped down the airport escalators. "Which I realize was a sucky idea. If you think I look bad you should've seen Rodriguez. At least all my body parts are still attached to each other." Again… she had foot in mouth syndrome tonight. That fact was intended to be reassuring but turned out to be anything but.

Arthur took her chin and turned her face to him. As he expected she had a scrape on her cheek that she'd tried to hold together with several butterfly bandaids, "I told you that job wasn't a good idea."

"Yeah," she shrugged, "But it was in Russia!" The fireworks in her eyes lit up again. She got too excited when they talked about dreams and risks nowadays. "They have all those new PASIV models they're trying out over there and they basically let me try out whatever, whenever I wanted."

Yeah. The punctures in her wrist were proof of that. "How many times a day did you go under?"

Her voice tapered like a child worried about getting in trouble, "Only once…" His hand gripped her wrist and he looked pointedly at it and her, letting her know he knew she was lying. "…a model…"

He breathed in deep, "What have I told you about PASIV abuse? It is the easiest and—"

"—quickest way to lose yourself." She droned, "I know. I was careful." Ariadne pressed the dishtowel to her wounds again and pushed passed him to get to her duffel, "You're my boyfriend not my dad."

"I'm only anal because want to protect you."

The Architect looked up at him briefly while her hands dug around for more bandages in her bag, "Well, I've lasted 23 years and about a hundred jobs without your protection…I think I can handle it." There was a pleasant hum when she'd found what she was looking for and she pulled out the flesh toned roll of fabric. Arthur hadn't replied. He did go sit by her on the ground, take the bandage out of her hand and begin wrapping them himself. His hands were gentle like always, touching her as if she was a cloud who'd disintegrate if he was anything but soft back. When the Point was done with her hands he turned his attention to her surface wound by her cheek. There was no away around ripping the bandaids off but he did so skillfully so as to inflict the least pain possible; his thumb rubbed the sensitive skin if she hissed. Ariadne ventured a look at him while he was attending to her wound. Eyes determined and calculating as he fished in her bag for antiseptic and sutures. His pupils darkened, though, when he inspected it again. Jaw flexed and head shaking. Disappointed, angry. Like he was certain she'd done it to herself just to spite him. "When are you going to stop doing this?"


"Coming back to me with chunks missing." He grumbled and flitted his eyes from his task to her gaze. "With dislocated ribs and fractured bones…"

This time Ariadne's eyes ran over his undershirt and rested to the left of his belly button. A spot where the fabric covered a near fatal gunshot wound he'd come home with six months ago. "When will you stop?"

Arthur rubbed his face with his palm, "I want you to lay off dream-sharing for a while. Or at least go back to single extractions where you don't go under and can design from home."

"Excuse me?" He couldn't have offended her worse if he'd spurted something derogatory. "I'm not staying home and doodling while you go have adventures the world over."

The wrapper crinkled in his fist and he laid it on the coffee tabled to get later, "Fine. Then just sit out the next one."

"Are you crazy?! It's a huge deal. They wanted who they could get from the Inception team for a reason. We've been prepping for months. You can't find another Architect as good as me in two days." It really wasn't ego. It was a fact in the (yet to be written) dream share encyclopedia.

Arthur's hand slipped to the back of her neck, "The entire team is rethinking the offer. I've had Cobb take a look at the paperwork and we did some thorough research together over the phone—he doesn't think it's a smart idea either. These people are dangerous. If they get their claws in us, I don't think they'll ever let go."

"They're helping the environment…all they're doing is sending messages to the corporations that do more damage than good and persuading them to change or back down."

"They're terrorists," insisted the Point.

Her eyes rolled to the back of her head, "Oh come on…"

Arthur took out some wipes and began washing off the dried blood down her forearms, "They physically harm people—even the innocent ones-in the company without any thought. They blow up entire office buildings, poison CEO's and you want to help them take it a step further into mental warfare?"

"Yes because then it'll stop all of it. If we can help them change people's minds without having to cause bodily harm then there's no need for them to do it anymore. It's helping them find a better alternative." He should've never let her read the file on them, let her help him research by reading those anarchists websites. Ariadne loved the earth, certain questions they posed resonated with her. She'd become too passionate about it.

He dragged his pinky along her collarbone, "I'm sick of worrying about you."

"Look…I'll be super careful. You'll be with me on this job and Eames will be there and Yusuf will be there and we've worked with Ingams, he'll be there." Her eyes sparkled because she had firm faith that everything would work out and they'd all give in and join her on this operation. "I'll be fine and if it makes you feel better, I won't go into the field. If you really think an aspect is too dangerous then I'll sit out that part."

He sighed, preparing to let her down easy, "Only Ingams is still interested in the job. The rest of us have decided to turn it down. Yusuf and Cobb have even shredded their contracts."

Ariadne looked to her side at the blank square of the powered down television, thinking. Her lips pressed together decidedly, "Well it's not like we always have to work together."

"Just promise me you won't make any decisions until we talk about this with the team again, yeah?"

"Ok." She said, pecked him on the lips and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck, "Now, I haven't seen you in a month and half…I don't want to fight. I was hoping for a warmer welcome."

Arthur simpered and snaked his arms around her waist, "Well, my apologies. Let me correct that." He picked her up off the floor and stepped over her duffel while planting an earth bending kiss. Arthur smiled into her as he felt her legs wrap around him like a koala. "Welcome home, Architect."

"More than happy to be back, Point Man," crooned the Architect before laughing as Arthur made haste for their bedroom.


There was no need to grab his weapon just in case, he knew it was her when the doorknob jiggled and shuffling feet crept in. There was the jingle of her keys being hung up and then he felt her. The hairs of his arms and the pull in his chest felt his guilty other half make her way closer to him and take a seat on the couch. Arthur's back was rigid and he sat straighter than usual. His arms were folded across his chest and his eyes stared ahead of him at the wall. She hopped onto the couch like a cat and crossed her legs to face him. Her voice faded in, "I thought you weren't going to be back from your meeting until ten?" It was in a tone that danced into his ears and pretended that it would pull him out of this odd funk. But to no avail. She tried again, "I would've stayed home and cooked you dinner if I knew…" The silent treatment remained effective. Fed up with his issues she stood and crossed in front of him. Now her arms were folded and her itty bitty foot was tapping. "Ok, how long are you going to be upset with me about whatever this is? Because I might as well go stay with Edith while your brooding."

That got a reaction out of him. She guessed he'd finally gotten bored with his favorite spot on the blank wall because his gaze flickered to hers, "I have every right to be upset with you."

"Not every right. Maybe a couple rights…I don't even know what I did!" Ariadne's eyes rolled at him and she went to get herself a glass of water. Arthur was going to go into one of his spiels like always and she would end up yelling at him to get her own point across. Might as well prepare the throat ahead of time.

Like clockwork, the Point followed her in a march, "You gave me your word Thursday and then you went back on it. You said you'd wait until we met with the team and discussed the offer from The Hoods together before you did anything."

"Well technically I did discuss it." She makes a show of opening the overhead cabinet and yanking out a cup. "Ingams and I analyzed it over lunch and he has the same viewpoint I do."

"You told me you were having lunch with Edith and Clarisse. Then I call Edith because you left your phone here and find out you're not with her. And all the files on the offer have been taken out of my safe. And—" He pulled out a thick stack of papers from the top of the counter and held them out as proof to her, "A signed contract is hidden under your pillow. You lied to me… I have to wonder what else you'd lie to me about…or what else you've snuck behind my back to do."

The girl hadn't even gotten so far as to pour her beverage before his words tried her patience. It was like just because she'd figured things out and her decision was against his wishes, all of a sudden she was a traitorous person and he needed to question her fidelity. She put the empty glass back down on the counter and leaned against her hands towards him. "Nothing. The only reason I did what I did was because you were being unreasonable."

"Unreasonable? Ariadne, The Hoods are killers." Every word was articulated as if he didn't expect Ariadne to understand English.

"Because they don't have a better alternative…for the millionth time. They have good intentions!"

"What if they don't? What if you finish the job and they decide they want you to join their little cult?"

She attempted to interrupt "They aren't a freakin—"

"What if this is a trap?" Folded arms again. What? Was it just a reflex when he talked to her? His hip pressed against the counter.

"What if I went to get the mail and I got run over by a bus?" Ariadne turned again to fill her cup with tap water, "What if some random guy at the market decided he wanted to mug and rape me?"

His hand grabbed the fridge handle, "Could you take our conversation seriously for once?"

Well screw the drink. She couldn't finish preparing it without him interrupting her. She sat the glass in the sink and turned to face him, one eyebrow raised as a challenge. "I am. A lot of things could happen but you can't lock me inside the house in a bullet proof vest forever."

Arthur scoffed, "Well I could."

"I would walk out that door this second and never look back at you if you tried." The Architect scoffed back but they both knew their sentences were empty threats. He would never attempt to put her on house arrest…she wasn't a possession, he didn't own her, and he didn't have the authority or desire to dampen her spirits. And Ariadne would never willingly walk out on him. The only exception would be if he committed adultery-which he wouldn't-So back to square one.

"I just don't understand why you can't sit this one job out. For me."

"And I don't understand why you can't let go and let me do what I want!" She stalked away from him again. She always did when they fought. Ariadne hated fighting with him even as it was happening, even in the moments where she wanted to bite his head off…she would get so mad-and not be able to stand being mad at him-so she'd avoid close contact so it wouldn't seem like they weren't really arguing.

But Arthur's nature wouldn't let her. Not that he felt any different than she about their quarrels but he wanted to settle it. He wanted to look into her eyes and fix it. He wanted to be able to assess the emotion in them so he could react accordingly. Make the altercation end as quickly as possible. That's why he followed her when she paced. "Because I'm not going to allow you to sign your death warrant! Because that's what that contract is!"

"Well I'm not going to allow you to chain me down just to feed your ego!" The Parisian stopped in the doorway of their bedroom.

This hurt the Point more than it annoyed him. Not the fact that she attacked his ego but the fact that she might've thought he was so jealous of her that he would try to stop her. Yes, he was in awe of the speed she learned and progressed and envious that she had such a big imagination but those were things he loved about her. She was the best at what she did and if she put her mind to it, yeah, she might be able to outdo him in Point work too but he would only admire and adore her all the more for it. "This has nothing to do with my ego. You know I'm proud of you! I'm proud of all you've accomplished in such a short time, all you're capable of! I love that you learn fast, that everything comes so easy to you. I would never hold you back to make myself feel better. But you're still a novice. You don't know—"

And the assaults of her tongue cut him off and attacked him again. These were the times he realized how much younger she was than him. Only six years-and she was mature and wise for her age, no doubt-but she was still prone to slip into the childish aspect of arguing more than he. "You think you know better than everyone just because you're a Point Man and your job is to sit on your ass all day ordering people around. You may know the social security number of Robert Fischer and Lilah Caplan's first pet but you don't know what's best for me!"

"Yes. I. Do. I've been in this business far longer than you and I've seen every way it can destroy a person's mind and body. I've watched people crumble into nothing," His hands felt the need to demonstrate with air what exactly he'd watched, "I've watched clients and marks and teammates alike turn on each other and rip each other apart for money, connections, revenge, desires. Forgive me if I don't want you to be a victim of that."

"You're forgiven…" Since he'd started discovering her, he had learned she had her own 'Point Man' face. It was far more infuriating than he believed he could ever make his. Perhaps, it was just the fact that he didn't like that expression on her face (that expression being blank and uncaring. Unfeeling.) Normally she felt too strongly about things. Her heart was humongous. It was bigger than both of them so when she put it away behind that mask his world felt smaller. Ariadne blinked and shrugged her shoulders, "Now I have an early meeting tomorrow so—" And dammit, she walked away from him. He wasn't going to let her leave it at that.

"This conversation isn't over." He'd entered the room and backed her against the wall before she had time to twitch. He held her wrists beside her head (firm to get her attention but loose so she could always get away), pressed against the wall.

Ariadne wrenched his tightening fingers off, "Why are you so controlling?!"

"Why are you so damn stubborn?!"

"What?" She feigned surprise and then mocked him. Another one of Ariadne's talents was that she was fluent in sarcasm—"You don't think you're just as stubborn? Why do you think we hate each other?"—and blood boiling accusations.

"We don't hate each other!" Arthur gritted. It was getting to the all familiar bubbling over point where his breaths became labored. He did hate when this happened.

"We don't?" Again with the facetiousness…the taller of the two's head began to furiously shake back and forth. The time bomb was ticking dangerously fast, "Isn't that why we fight all the time?!" Those words of hers did it. The implication that they were capable of despising one another was the straw that broke the camel's back. The Point Man grunted and punched the wall on either side of her head. The loudness next to her ears startled her but she wasn't afraid. He wouldn't hurt her. "I can't do this anymore!" His eyes dropped away from hers and his breathing calmed. Arthur's body loosened and he slinked down to his knees; his hands fell to her hips and his forehead leaned against her stomach. "We can't do this anymore... We need to stop dreaming."

Now Ariadne felt remorseful. Most of the time—not all—but most of the time he was the first to cave. But this time she'd reduced him passed the compromising stage to a near broken one and it didn't satisfy her. And though his suggestion both shocked and scared her, she found her fingers combing through his black tresses and the freeing the strands from the crusted gel soothingly as she spoke, "Stop dreaming…? I don't think I could quit even if I wanted to. Could you?"

"Yes," he lifted his head and looked up at her, "I've been thinking about it for a while now and I've discovered that I would. If I had to choose which one of you to live without." Next, Arthur got up off the ground. All traces of the former lividness were gone; in his eyes there was only truth and hopefulness. "If you were following me I could walk away from all of it and never even think to look back. Imagine…we could move back to the States by your family. Eames could forge you a letter to get you into any firm you wanted to work in and I'd pay for you to build the home you want." His hands laced with hers with gentleness and endearment. "We wouldn't have to skip through countries unless we wanted to. We wouldn't have to be paranoid and look over our shoulders at every turn. It wouldn't matter who knew our last names, who'd remember our faces." Arthur then brushed his forehead against hers and aligned the tips of their noses, "Baby, we could get married." He beamed so that his dimples appeared, "We could have beautiful children together...a little girl with my eyes and your sweet mouth…all of your miraculous creativity and both of our infuriating stubbornness." He chuckled at that. "Doesn't that sound wonderful? I want to be able to give you that. Don't you want that for us?"

It was mindboggling that Arthur had planned everything out in his head like that for them. Ariadne's heart swelled with the knowledge that he cared for her that much, that he wanted all that with her. For them together. It sounded like the ideal, white picket fence, American Dream. Yet, it was overwhelming at this point in her life. As picturesque as he made it sound…that's not what she had in mind. If anyone would've asked her where she saw herself in five years: settled down in a huge house with Arthur, four kids and a boring cubicle job in Virginia is not what she would've answered. The poor girl really did try to break it to him gently. "I'm only twenty three…" Already he didn't like the tone and the sympathies it implied. He pulled away so he could read her face. "I don't want to move home. I've spent my entire life trying to get out of there. I don't want a legitimate job behind a desk. I want close encounters and thrills and adventures not babies to chase around the house all day. I'm not ready to settle down- not with so much the dream world can offer me. You said it yourself: there's nothing like it. Nothing, Arthur. There's so much about it I haven't gotten to experience yet. I want fight stories and battle scars like you have."

The gleam in her eyes when she spoke of the dares and dangers she could have made him nauseous. Her hunger for wounds and trouble made his stomach physically contract. "You don't want to live the life I've had to." He coaxed and lowered their hands to her sides.

"Yes I do!" She smiled.

"No, you don't want to see the things I've seen." The Point didn't think there was a chance of talking her out of her feelings but he gave his two-piece anyway. "You deserve more; you deserve everything. This business changes people, Ari. You're perfect the way you are."

"But I love it."

Love. That was it. The decision in Arthur's head that he'd been going back and forth on was then decided. Ariadne loved it…he already knew it but he could feel a stronger passion in those words than before. She wouldn't give it up without kicking and screaming. She would never be satisfied unless she got her fill of creation. She would despise him if he was the cause that separated her and that world. Ariadne spoke again, pulling him out of his gut-cringing thoughts.

"Look…maybe years from now I'll be like Cobb and—"Her phrase faltered when Arthur shook his head at the Extractor's name—"I'll love the idea of retiring and having a family with you but not this instant. Not anytime soon. That doesn't mean I don't love you…"

"But you love dreaming more…I understand."

"I love it differently." She cupped his cheek and hoped the gesture would ease the blow.

He nodded and immediately the Architect felt relieved. The fight was over and they'd come to a tranquil understanding. She was pleased with the outcome too until he walked to their closet and stated factually, "I'll have my things out by morning."

"Wait—I didn't mean—we don't have to break up." Ariadne was thoroughly confused then, especially when he emerged with his two suitcases.

"Yes, we do."

"That's not fair. You can't give me an ultimatum like this." Ariadne's eyes had grown in size and eyed the luggage slung on their bed with stupor.

Arthur's voice reassured her (likely story…any reassurance was mooted as long as he kept unzipping the suitcases while he talked to her) "This isn't an ultimatum."

"'Quit dreamshare or I'm leaving you' that doesn't sound like one?" The Point said nothing but disappeared back into the closet. When he came back out he'd had his two garment bags full of suits in his hands; he carefully laid them on the bed as well. His next trip brought a collection of folded shirts, sweaters and pants which he neatly organized into the bottom of his luggage. Ariadne remained frozen with her eyebrows furrowed. He made another trip carrying clothes of the same nature to which Ariadne's mouth gaped. When Arthur came out with a few pair of shoes in his hand, The Architect found her muscles and stepped in front of him before he could cross back to his suitcases. "Stop." The man merely sighed, placed his shoes in the pockets designated and went back for more. Now she was getting aggravated, "This isn't funny," she complained when she saw not only more of his shoes packed away but a small portion of his collection of ties. "Arthur. Unpack all of that right now." She pointed at his bags and demanded but he ignored her and crossed over to their dresser and began pulling open all the drawers his items were kept in.

Arthur turned around when he heard something zipping. On closer look, he realized his stuff was dumped out in a pile back in the floor and his now empty suitcases were being sealed and rolled away. "What are you doing?" He put down the briefs and socks in his hand and gaited across the room to take one of his suitcases out of her grasp.

"You're not going anywhere!"

He pried the object out of her hands and slung it back on the bed, unzipping it for the third time. "Yes I am." Arthur spun back around to retrieve his clothing from the floor. She blocked him, "Fine! I quit. Are you happy?! I'll give it up. I choose you." It was easy to evade her. Ariadne was tiny and his legs were too long fast not to be able to maneuver around her. "It's not your choice. This is mine."

With a huff, Ariadne kept in step with him as he repacked everything and headed towards their bathroom for his toiletries. "Well you don't have to make it anymore because I'll do whatever you want me to do." Still, he paid her no mind. His travel bag was pulled out of the towel cabinet and he'd started dropping in his electric razor, his deodorant, his floss. "Arthur, this is what you wanted. I'm choosing you over dreamwork…" The Architect plucked one of his products out of the zipper and put it back in its rightful spot, "put your damn toothbrush back!"

"I'm not letting you make the choice. If I let you choose me, then down the road you'll hate me for it. All I want is your happiness, Ari."

The Architect took the bag and dumped out its contents—which received a groan from Arthur—before she replied, "Then don't leave me."

"You can't be happy without the dreams. Not until you've had your share of it like the rest of us have." With a swiftness all of his toiletries were placed back in the travel bag as he spoke, "And I can't be happy standing by and watching you slowly lose yourself physically and mentally. I can't handle the worrying. I can't come home to this fighting anymore. It doesn't matter what I say or what I offer you—your mind is made up. Your heart is set. You love this. I can't and won't stop you from doing what you really want to do." He pivoted, bag in hand, to go pack it.

She made all of his movement halt when she took the bag from his hands, placed it on the closed toilet lid and snaked her arms around his neck. Her voice was low and pleading now, the gravity of what was happening slowly replacing the shock, "We'll stop fighting."

"We won't." The despondency in his tone couldn't be overlooked. Neither could the truth. Her face fell completely to a place he hated seeing it: contorted, sad. She whispered, "Why?" He knew she meant why he was doing this—leaving—not why they wouldn't stop. That answer was evident.

The Point picked her up and sat her down on the vanity in their bathroom in the spot between their sinks. His body pressed against the counter between her knees and he murmured back—as her hands instinctively flew to weave with his-"I love you more than anything. And every breath I take without you beside me will kill me in ways you can't imagine. But this is what you really want, what you need. So I'm going to give it to you…guilt free. Argument free." Arthur went to pull his hands away so he could continue packing but her hands tightened. She refused to let him go. "Ariadne…" he warned but it was more of a discontented sigh…he wanted her to release his hands no more than she wanted to release them. "Marry me," She gave in, "If that's what you want. If that'll make you stay, Arthur, then I'll be your wife." Arthur's head shook sadly. She continued bartering, "Let's go tomorrow. We can get it done at the courthouse and—" He smiled with no happiness, "You know I've dreamt about you saying those words? But not like this. Your love isn't a bargaining chip; I want you to want it. Me."

"I do."

"But not more than pure creation." Her silence that followed was enough to reaffirm his resolve. "Let this torture end, Ariadne." His forehead rested on her shoulder and waited. Slowly—crawlingly slow—her hold loosened and her hands opened. She watched them as his fingers slipped out of hers and left the spaces painfully vulnerable. Quickly, she fisted so they'd feel full and closed her eyes while she felt him break contact with her shoulder and heard him walk out of the bathroom.

She sat between the frames of the door of their bedroom. Her back rested against the side of the door and her feet bent and pressed against the other side. Ariadne watched him like a hawk. His every move. Every fold of a shirt or sock. As he strode in and out of the closet, their bathroom, padding around their room, as he stepped over her and gathered different things of his strewn through the kitchen and living area. For hours she watched him. He'd caught her yawning once and then pushed, "You know you're making this harder. You need to go to bed. Tomorrow is a big day if you're going to have that meeting and sign on with the Hoods. You don't want to be tired and un-alert in case something happens." Always worried about her health and safety that man…even when his worry was the cause of all their problems.

"I'm watching you leave. If this is the last time I'll see you, I'm not gonna go to bed and wake up with you gone like all of this has been an elaborate dream." She refused.

"You'll see me again."

That helped things, her dulled eyes brightened up a fraction again, "You promise?"

"I wouldn't be me if I could resist checking on you every now and then." Ever the gentleman, he picked her up bridal style and carried her to her side of the bed (his was still peppered with his stuff) "Tell me if you move; I'll keep this number just for you. And if you ever find yourself in trouble—if you need anything at all-you know I'll come running before you blink." He pulled the covers up around her and ran a hand through her hair, "Now go to sleep, love."

She eventually drifted off. Arthur pretended not to notice how she lined up her back against his suitcase like she was used to molding into him and he struggled to overlook the wet marks on her pillowcase. With everything organized, packed away and his suitcases waiting by the door, he pulled on his trench coat and—thought back to the girl alone and asleep in the bed they once shared. As quiet as he could, he unzipped the suitcase a hair and pulled out a red and white pinstriped dress shirt.

Arthur tiptoed back into their bedroom and over to her. Nimbly he stuffed the shirt under her pillow and whispered, "Your favorite…" After one last kiss on her forehead he faded into the shadows and found himself a hotel across the city.

So a bit of a depressing way to start…the writing and grammar crap will improve once my rusty self gets into the groove again. Please review if you're interested and/or if you've come to check this out because you've read some of my other stories. I'll try to keep up the pace I normally have: if I get a few responses than I usually aim to update daily. Thanks if you've read this far! I'm excited to share this new journey for A/A with you! –PrettyPrettyPlease